The initial data for my project are coming from the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts – a marvellous and unique source which should be of value to any researcher studying the history and provenance of medieval European manuscripts. The database contains more than 220,000 entries, derived mainly from sales catalogues. The full database is made available for download in Excel and CSV formats.
The Schoenberg database contains almost 20,000 records relating to Phillipps manuscripts. This is the single largest provenance group, leaving the Bibliotheque nationale de France (15,000) and the British Library (7,500) well behind.
I downloaded the entire Schoenberg dataset and filtered it for all the records relating to Phillipps manuscripts. I then ran it through the OpenRefine software to split out the individual elements in the “Provenance” and “Comments” fields. The next task is to use these to extract all the Phillipps numbers. I will then be able to identify which Phillipps manuscripts are not represented in the Schoenberg database and use this as the basis for linking in information from other sources.
Many thanks to Lynn Ransom and the Schoenberg team for making their data available in this way.